Richard Griffin: ‘It’s obvious that the problem is not the meeting, it’s the problem of deception’

One single line from Richard Griffin summarises the meeting that Clare Curran tried to hide. It was delivered during his questioning before the select committee yesterday and it sums up the whole issue, despite the obfuscations of the prime minister, Clare Curran and the Labour members who acted disgracefully on the select committee.

Maori TV reports:

Radio New Zealand (RNZ) bosses have appeared to set the record straight and apologise to a select committee saying they feel “foolish” and “embarrassed” at having inadvertently misled them over the nature of a meeting between the broadcast minister and former head of news Carol Hirschfeld in December.

RNZ Chairman Richard Griffin says, “Quite honestly it’s embarrassing for us but we’re in a position that we feel we have to explain ourselves”.

RNZ was left to set the record straight after Hirschfeld resigned over a week ago after admitting she repeatedly mislead her bosses about her planned breakfast meeting with Minister for Broadcasting Clare Curran.

Griffin says, “It’s obvious that the problem is not the meeting, it’s the problem of deception.  The action taken once we were aware of the facts is inevitable”. End of quote.  

He is dead right. The problem wasn’t the meeting; it was the deception of Curran and Hirschfeld when this was unfolding. Hirschfeld deserved to be sacked after lying over four times to her bosses. It makes you wonder what she was covering for.

The next problem is Curran’s explanations in the house do not match the time line or the facts presented by Richard Griffin, especially the claims of the reason for a letter rather than appearing before the committee. Both the prime minister and Curran have claimed it to be an appearance on the Thursday before Easter. Radio NZ was never scheduled to appear at that time. Rather, they were scheduled to appear a week later – yesterday. So all the excuses and explanations made in parliament by the prime minister and Curran were as false as Curran’s original claims.

The story continues:

National’s Broadcast Spokesperson Melissa Lee first asked about the meeting back in December.  She says both sides of the story do not add up.

“What we need to get to the bottom of is why the stories are different and we need to find out the truth,” says Lee.

Curran says “I don’ think there are differences between the two accounts.  What I tabled in Parliament this week in terms of the contact between my office and RNZ and contact between the chair and myself I think pretty much stacks up”.

Lee has requested a message left by the minister on Griffin’s phone prior to the reappearance.

“The minister has actually suggested one account and the chairperson has a very different account about what that conversation was all about so when we have a recording we will actually get to the bottom of it,” Lee says.

The minister disputes by leaving the message she was trying to muzzle RNZ.

“Absolutely not… What I thought and what my advice was was the correct thing to do and so that’s why I suggested a letter be put into that committee by 1pm that day if the chair couldn’t appear in person”.

Lee expects to receive the recording next week. End of quote.

We will soon know who is telling the truth. It will either be Richard Griffin or it will be Clare Curran. I suspect it won’t be Curran and then this all starts again.

I’ve been asked by politicians and interested people, “How long do you think Curran will last?” My answer is that I hope she lasts a good long while yet. Every week just delivers up more and more debilitating incompetence, which reinforces in people’s minds that this government is one of the most incompetent in living memory. It means that unless they sharpen up real damn quick this will be a one-term government and they will be out for a good long time.

That concerns me, though, because we saw the arrogance of National at the last election. I couldn’t put up with more of that and the incessant sycophancy from supporters. Nothing sickens me more than supporters prepared to countenance all levels of poor behaviour simply because it is their team. That too is a recipe for political disaster. Thankfully some of the worst proponents of that behaviour have now exited.

National should not rush at nailing Curran. She’s more useful being an idiot minister. If she does go then they have to find another fool, not that there is a shortage of them right now.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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